It was a proud moment on Friday for the parents whose sons and daughters will graduate as young army officers this year at the Officers Training Academy (OTA). Yet this father’s story is different from the rest. Hailing from a humble, rural background, Surender Sharma (a farmer in a small village of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh), is beaming with pride as his son Sonu Sharma will pass out with a gold medal on Saturday.
Born and raised in Muzaffarnagar, Sonu is a BA graduate who later pursued studies to join the Air Force as well as the Navy but had to quit because of ‘technicalities’ involved in the services. Despite the initial hiccups, Sonu refused to give up and later chased his dreams of entering the Army. With his hard work and dedication, Sonu emerged as the gold medalist in a batch of 184 cadets who will be graduating as young men and women army officers.
Sonu explains that his achievement was possible only because of his parents’ support, besides his passion to serve the nation. Expressing gratitude to his parents, he said, “My parents have always been my inspiration and I would do anything for their happiness. They have been very supportive throughout and I am glad that they are here today watching me get a gold medal.” Sonu’s mother Shimla Devi, a homemaker, said, “My son was always good in studies and I was never worried about his career but I had never imagined him reaching this far.”
His father said that life had been difficult as they lived in a small village without electricity. “We compromised on our clothes, food, etc to get our children educated and all the sacrifices have been worth it.”